Last year I made several predictions about how the seo industry would change over 2013, and the results are pretty much in with just a few days left this year. So lets take a look at what I said and what has actually happened...
Prediction One - Quality Wins Rankings (correct)
What I Said: I predicted that as with 2012 we would continue to see a shift in search rankings to favour quality content – with a continuing move from article and press release websites.
What Happened: Google has continued to roll out panda updates and penguin updates. In addition to this we’ve seen the knowledge graph grow to show more direct content from trusted sources. We’ve also seen the Google Hummingbird update roll out which is highly focused on fresh quality content and we’ve seen a new type of search result named “in-depth articles” (in august). The later of which currently shows on around 5% of search results.
Predication Two – Authorship Becomes Vital (correct)
What I Said: Google Authorship was just dipping its toes in 2012 but it was going to take off and be shown in many search results pages. Also I suggested that authorship would also play a part on twitter and facebook going forward.
What Happened: Overall, this predication came true – there are now a many search results pages with authorship from google (it goes beyond page of results). This combined with Google implementing fresher content means that quality fresh content usually has authorship attached and stands out in search results. Twitter’s cards have taken off and now can be seen within the new layout of a twitter feed, so far Facebook hasn’t shown much of a sway on authorship but the latest API update shows promise for this to come very soon.
Prediction Three – Personalisation Grows in Search (Correct)
What I Said: I predicted a continuing move to personalised results based on everything from results to previous search history and your social graph. This would mean the end of “definitive” search rankings.
What Happened: This prediction came completely true, with mobile search growing this is very true. Google knows where you are and can show extremely local search results, this combined with Google now moving towards conversational search and we can see results getting very personalised. Further to this Google Now (the app) means that almost everything personal to you. Also (as explained in the next section) Google’s growth in social media as a platform means they’re already looking to integrate what you and your friends share online to give you results you may be interested in.
Finally, Google are moving towards anticipatory search, aka predicting what you want in advance of you knowing. Google Now plays a huge part in this but so does knowing how you search and what you search in detail – for instance knowing my over 10,000 searches in October this year.
Prediction Four – The Rise of SOLOMO (correct)
What I Said: I predicted that 2013 would be the year of “social, local and mobile”, where smart portable devices become the norm and the web becomes primarily searched using such devices. Also I predicted social would become a key part of search results.
What Happened: Firstly Google+ made its way into almost every set of results, with “person x and person y +1’s this” below results. On Google Author’ed results you see how many people have circled the author, an indicator of authority in some respect and allowing direct connection to that person. Mobile has continued to grow hugely and tablets are today common place, with almost every tech / toy advert this Christmas targeting this market (for example Argos below). On local search its certainly the case that the more Google can see your location (even by ip) the more personalised results get to be. It is also the case that due to recent Google updates the refreshing of some local search results has increasing the possibilities of getting local rankings – as shown here in a recent local seo experiment.
Prediction Five: Local Search (almost correct)
What I Said: I predicted that 2013 would be the year local search picked up more traction and microformats become common place across the web.
What Happened: The reality is that local search did take off (as mentioned above), more maps appear in search results than ever before and they are now deeply embedded within Google Now and Google Map apps on smart phones.
Microformats have grown but are not yet common place, the reality is it’s hard to go back to some website and implement them correctly – legacy websites will always be an issue with new tech even one as simple as this to implement. It is common place among many new websites, especially e-commerce websites.
Prediction Six: Social Transient Ranking (STR) (probably correct)
What I Said: Last year I suggested that the “shared by…” line and the “person x +1’d this” would become prevalent and that, Google’s, authorship ranking would grow and use other social sites as a benchmark.
What Happened: Ultimately (as previously said), the shared by line does exist on most search results pages – its pretty cool to see that in there and clearly its in an attempt to say “your friends read and loved this so should you”. So that’s correct.
The questionable bit about this prediction is that we still have no idea other than Google+ what makes Google shows authorship for some but not all results where they are marked up with Google Authorship. We also don’t know whether Google is checking your connections (if you have a google+ profile and are known to Google) to see whether you as an author should be trusted. We don’t know what it see’s as a vote of confidence in your authorship. But I do believe that Google is looking outside of it’s own four walls for this.
Another Year Down, What SEO Trends do I see for 2014?
Honestly I see a lot of changes coming from Google and other aspects of digital marketing. Next week I’ll be posting my predictions again – if you’ve got any leave a comment or tweet me and I may include them :.